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Syracuse newest No. 1 seed in latest NCAA bracket projection

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Syracuse joins DukeOhio State and Kansas as projected No. 1 seeds in the first of our 2011 weekly bracket projections here at NBCSports.com and Bracketville.  Over the next two months, the Orange figure to battle it out with Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Georgetown for the Big East title.  The winner will most likely emerge as a top-seed candidate.  Joining Pitt and UConn as two-seeds today are Kentucky and San Diego State. 

Remember, the NCAA tournament now features a new 68-team format. You will notice four matchups in the bracket that represent the First Four pairings. In this bracket the First Four games in Dayton would be … Drexel vs. Virginia Tech | Oklahoma State vs. Cleveland State | Jackson State vs. Sam Houston | American vs. Quinnipiac. The final four at-large teams are paired along with the teams seeded 65-68 on the S-curve.  Winners of these games advance to the Thursday-Friday sites.

Here are a couple of quick reminders … 1) The Bracket projection is not based solely on if the season ended today – particularly regarding predicted conference champions (listed in ALL-CAPS – exceptions being teams such as BYU that often go by an acronym.) The goal is to use the data we currently have and combine it with reasonable expections.  These expectations will change as teams build more complete resumes.  Expect a fair amount of change as we go through the first month of conference play. 2) Seeding is very fluid at this point.   There often isn’t much difference between a six and ten seed (now or in March). 

Note: Records reflect Division I wins and loses.  Games against D-II or D-III teams do not count for NCAA selection and seeding and thus aren’t considered here.

Next Update: Monday, January 10.

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTNewark   SOUTHEASTNew Orleans
Charlotte   Cleveland
1) DUKE (13-0)   1) OHIO STATE (14-0)
16) JACKSONVILLE (7-3)   16) HAMPTON (10-3)   
8 Florida (10-3)   8 Louisville (11-2)
9) Baylor (9-3)   9) Florida State (11-3)
     
Tampa   Denver
5) Minnesota (11-3)   5) Kansas State (10-3)
12) OLD DOMINION (9-3)   12) Drexel / Virginia Tech
4) Villanova (12-1)   4) BYU (13-1)
13) OAKLAND (8-8)   13) NORTH TEXAS (11-2)
     
Denver   Charlotte
6) TEMPLE (9-3)   6) North Carolina (10-4)
11) Arizona (12-3)   11) Oklahoma St / Cleveland St
3) Missouri (13-1)   3) Georgetown (12-2)
14) KENT STATE (8-5)   14) CHARLESTON (9-5)
     
Washington, DC   Tampa
7) Wisconsin (11-3)   7) MEMPHIS (11-2)
10) Washington State (10-4)   10) WICHITA STATE (10-2)
2) Connecticut (11-1)   2) KENTUCKY (11-2)
15) PRINCETON (10-4)   15) VERMONT (9-3)
     
SOUTHWEST – San Antonio   WEST – Anaheim
Tulsa   Cleveland
1) KANSAS (13-0)   1) SYRACUSE (15-0)
16) JACKSON ST / SAM HOUSTON   16) AMERICAN / QUINNIPIAC
8 BUTLER (9-4)   8 GONZAGA (9-5)
9) Boston College (11-3)   9) Tennessee (9-4)
     
Chicago   Tucson
5) Illinois (12-3)   5) Texas A-M (11-1)
12) Georgia (11-2)   12) West Virginia (8-4)
4) Notre Dame (12-2)   4) Michigan State (8-4)
13) MURRAY STATE (7-4)   13) UTAH STATE (13-2)
     
Chicago   Tulsa
6) Vanderbilt (11-2)   6) WASHINGTON (10-3)
11) Miami-FL (11-4)   11) St. John’s (9-3)
3) Purdue (13-1)   3) Texas (11-2)
14) COASTAL CAROLINA (8-2)   14) FAIRFIELD (9-3)
     
Washington, DC   Tucson
7) UNLV (12-2)   7) Central Florida (12-0)
10) St. Mary’s (10-2)   10) Cincinnati (14-0)
2) Pittsburgh (13-1)   2) SAN DIEGO STATE (13-0)
15) UC-SANTA BARBARA (5-5)   15) MONTANA (8-4)

 

 

NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Ohio State, Kansas, and Syracuse. The two seeds in order are Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Kentucky, and San Diego State.

Last Five teams in (at large): West Virginia, Drexel, Cleveland State, Georgia, Oklahoma State

First Five teams out (at large): Dayton, New Mexico, USC, Richmond, Rhode Island

Also Considered: Xavier, Northwestern, UCLA, Missouri State, Mississippi, Iowa State, Southern Mississippi, Marquette, Maryland, George Mason, Providence, Portland, Arkansas, Virginia, UAB, UTEP

Bracket adjustments: Bracket actually flowed together without the need for seed-line adjustments. This doesn’t happen very often.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (9): SYRACUSE, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Villanova, Louisville, St. John’s, West Virginia

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Missouri, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A-M, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Big Ten (6): OHIO STATE, Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

ACC (6): DUKE, North Carolina, Boston College, Florida State, Miami-FL, Virginia Tech

SEC (5): KENTUCKY, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia

Mountain West (3): SAN DIEGO STATE, BYU, UNLV

Pac 10 (3): WASHINGTON, Arizona, Washington State

Colonial (2): OLD DOMINION, Drexel

Conference USA (2): MEMPHIS, Central Florida

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, St. Mary’s

Horizon (2): BUTLER, Cleveland State

Atlantic 10 (1): TEMPLE

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Kent State (MAC), Montana (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Quinnipiac (NEC), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), North Texas (Sun Belt), Princeton (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), American (Patriot), Vermont (America East), Sam Houston (Southland), Jackson State (SWAC)

White decides to return to Nebraska

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Nebraska’s second-leading scorer from last season will return for his senior season as Andrew White III announced Wednesday he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft.

“I felt good about the pre-draft process, White said in a statement released by Nebraska. “It was encouraging, and I gained as much ground as anyone throughout the process. I wanted one more year to fine tune my game and put myself in better position for the NBA next summer.  

“I want to thank the teams who invited me their in-house workouts, and Nebraska for supporting me during this process.  It has been very helpful in gathering information in preparation for my future Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress throughout the spring and being understanding and supportive, as I evaluated whether to turn pro or return for my senior year.”

White, a Kansas transfer, tallied 16.6 points per game last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We are excited to have Andrew remain with our program,” coach Tim Miles said. “This has been a valuable time for him, as he has tested his skills against some of the best competition and received very important insight from key NBA personnel.  

“We look forward to continuing to help Andrew’s development to improve his NBA profile even more than he already has done through this process.  I believe next year could be our most complete team with a great opportunity for success in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, I’m happy Andrew will be with us to go out and prove it.”

The news is certainly welcome for the Cornhuskers and Miles, who will be under pressure to show improvement after back-to-back disappointing seasons following an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Shavon Shields, last year’s leading scorer, has exhausted his eligibility and the Huskers will need White to help fill the void.

Trimble coming back to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
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Melo Trimble is returning to Maryland.

The Terrapin guard will be back to for his junior season in College Park, according to multiple reports.

Trimble went from freshman first-rounder to question mark after a rough end to his sophomore season for Maryland in which his points per game, shooting percentage (both overall and from 3-point range) and rebounding dipped from his first season. Only his assists per game showed any sort of improvement. He waited until the last possible day to announce his intentions to return to school, but really his options were limited after seeing his production drop.

His decision to come back to school gives him a shot to restore his draft stock while Maryland gets its floor general back to help ease the transition from last year’s Sweet 16 squad that lost Diamond Stone, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. The Terps might not be a sure-fire top-25 team with Trimble back, but their NCAA tournament chances are now significantly higher.

Nevada lands Martin twins

Caleb Martin, Jordan Roper
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Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.